25 July 2016

Gelfand Wins Ahead of Time

Three rapid games of the Magas match in the review of Vladimir Barsky.

Although Boris Gelfand has come victorious out of the classical part of the match, it is not the end of the match yet as six rapid games featuring time control 15+10 are still in store for grandmasters. Three rapid games took place on Thursday, July 21, with Ernesto Inarkiev playing with the white pieces in two of them. Despite the European Champion being eager for revenge, disappointment was in wait for him as soon as the opening of rapid game one: one hasty move of his wound up surrendering the initiative to Black. Gelfand took over the command of the only open file and exploited it to infiltrate his pieces into the opponent's camp.

Inarkiev's defense was tenacious: he sacrificed a pawn and then was prepared to part with the second one for the sake of making his rook active. However, he went off the right course in the ending: instead of going semi-forcedly into a drawn ending with three versus two pawns on the same flank, he continued playing with equal material but allowing the opponent's king into the center. A closer look at the position revealed that the black pawns were going to make it first. White had to recognize his defeat on move 51. 

Inarkiev – Gelfand (m/7)
Sicilian Defense

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.B:c6 bc 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 

Boris Gelfand: Up to this moment we repeated moves from game five, but now Ernesto has made up his mind in favor of another plan. 

7...0-0 8.d4 cd 9.cd d5 10.e5 f6 11.ef ef

Boris Gelfand: In one of Ernesto's games, his opponent recaptured on f6 with the rook, but White should be OK afterwards. 11...R:f6 12.Bg5 Rf7 13.Nbd2 Qb6 14.Nb3 a5 15.Rc1 Nf5 16.Rc2 a4 17.Nc5 Nd6 18.Ne5 Bf5 19.Rc1 Q:b2 20.Re2 Qb5 21.N:f7 N:f7 22.Be3 Nd6 23.h3 h5 24.f3 Nc4 25.Bf2 e5 26.g4 hg 27.hg Bc8 28.Rb1 Qa5 29.Qd3 Kf7 30.de N:e5 31.Qe3 Kg8 32.Kg2 Ba6 33.Be1 Q:c5 34.Q:c5 B:e2 35.Bc3 B:f3+ 36.Kg3 Be4 37.Rb7 Bf8 38.Qf2 Nf3 39.Rd7 c5 40.Qf1 g5 41.Bf6 Bh6 42.Qb5 1-0, as in Inarkiev – Durarbeyli, Skopje 2015.

12.Nbd2 Re8 13.Nb3 Nf7 14.Nc5 

Boris Gelfand: This is an inaccuracy - Ernesto should not have allowed getting his knight pinned. Instead, he either should have immediately traded rooks on e8 or should have otherwise played 14.h3. 

Ernesto Inarkiev: I agree that 14.Nc5 was an error.

14...Bg4 15.R:e8+

Boris Gelfand: It is now unclear as to what White is supposed to do in this position since 15.Be3 is met by 15...Ng5. 

15...Q:e8 16.h3 B:f3 17.Q:f3 Qe1+ 18.Kh2 Ng5 


Editor's note: Stronger is 19.Qf4 Re8 20.Nb3!, finishing development of his queenside.

19...Re8 20.Bd2! Qe2! 21.Q:e2

Boris Gelfand: If 21.Qf4, then 21...Nf3+ 22.Q:f3 (22.gf Q:f2+ 23.Kh1 Re2 and White is getting checkmated) 22...Q:d2, and Black ends up winning a pawn. 

Ernesto Inarkiev: Even stronger is 21...N:h3! 22.K:h3 g5 23.Qc7 Qh5+ 24.Kg3 Qh4+ 25.Kf3 g4+ 26.Kf4 Bh6+ 27.Kf5 Qh5+ 28.K:f6 Qg6#. 

21...R:e2 22.Be3 R:b2 23.Rc1 Bf8 

Boris Gelfand: I think this is a blunder because after 24.h4 the position is a draw. In general, Black has some tactical problems to solve. 

Ernesto Inarkiev: This position seems to me to be close to a draw. However, having to play this position for White in rapid chess is far from being a pleasure. 

24.h4 B:c5 25.R:c5 Ne4 26.R:c6 N:f2 


Boris Gelfand: Rather than checking the king, White should have played 27.B:f2 R:f2 28.Ra6 Rf4 29.Kh3 R:d4 30.R:a7 instead. This position is likely to transpose into a rook ending with three versus two pawns at the same flank.

27...Kf7 28.Rc7+ Ke6 

Boris Gelfand: The fact of the black king being no longer cut off makes White's position unpleasant. 

29.B:f2 R:f2 30.R:a7 h5 

Ernesto Inarkiev: This is an important move, but at the end it was still supposed to be a draw. 

Boris Gelfand: This is, perhaps, because my play was inaccurate. 

31.Rg7 Kf5 32.Rd7 Ke4 33.Rg7 K:d4 34.R:g6 Ke4

Boris Gelfand: I should have played 34...Ke3 instead to win a tempo. 

Ernesto Inarkiev: Yes, this move makes a big difference!

35.Kg1 Rf5 36.g4 

Boris Gelfand: Even though White has managed to generate some counterplay, after 36...hg 37.R:g4+ Ke3 38.Rg3+ Ke2 39.Rg2+ Kd3 40.Rh2 Rh5 he is up against serious problems. 


Boris Gelfand: 41.Rh3+ Kc2 42.Kf2 d4 43.Ke2 Re5+ 44.Kf2 d3 fails to bring any relief either. 

41...d4 42.Kf3 Kc3 43.Kg4 Rd5 44.Rf2 f5+ 


Boris Gelfand: White is not helped by 45.Kf4 in view of 45...d3 46.h5 d2 47.R:d2 (47.Rf1 Kc2 48.h6 Rd6 49.Kg5 f4 50.h7 Rd8) 47...K:d2 48.h6 Rd6. 

45...d3 46.h5 d2 47.Rf1 Kc2 48.h6 d1Q 49.R:d1 K:d1 50.h7 f4+ 51.Kg4 Rd8 White resigns. 

In the next game White got absolutely nothing out of the opening, and it seems as though it was for the first time in the match that Ernesto Inarkiev came out victorious out of the opening battle. Then Boris Gelfand started playing solid chess with the obvious purpose of making a draw and sealing an overall victory in the match. Despite Inarkiev's trying hard to use his practical chances, the margin of safety for White was too wide. The game ended on move 33, when White committed a bad blunder and went down immediately as a result. 

Gelfand – Inarkiev (m/8)
Queen's Indian Defense

Boris Gelfand: In this game I handled the opening in a very mediocre manner... 

Ernesto Inarkiev: It was still not so bad after all, wasn't it? 

Boris Gelfand: Well, the position was about level. 

Ernesto Inarkiev: Still, Black enjoyed a more pleasant game. 

Boris Gelfand: There is no denying it. On the other hand, the margin of safety for White was substantial. 

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Re1 Na6 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Bf4 N:c3 10.bc Be4 11.Ne5 B:g2 12.K:g2 d6 13.Nf3 Nb8 14.e4 Nc6 15.Qd3 Na5 

Boris Gelfand: We can say that Black enjoys some symbolic advantage, although I see no significant troubles coming at White from anywhere. 

16.Nd2 Qc8 17.Nb3 Qa6 18.N:a5 Q:a5 19.a4 c6 20.Bd2 

Boris Gelfand: Even if I keep doing nothing, I think Black is unlikely to be able to improve his position further.

20...Rac8 21.h4 Rfd8 22.Qe2 Qa6 23.h5 h6

Ernesto Inarkiev: This is quite a weird move... I needed to play 23...d5 without any delay. 

Boris Gelfand: 23...d5 looks like a more accurate move. Then 24.cd Q:e2 25.R:e2 cd 26.e5, and I am going to employ the same plan which happened in the game: f4, g4. Only in this case there is no hook for me in the form of the h6-pawn, but the margin of safety for White is such that I fail to see the direction from which any troubles might start coming at me. 

24.Qg4 Kf8 25.Qe2 d5 26.cd Q:e2 27.R:e2 cd 28.e5 Rc4 29.Kf3 a5 30.Be1 Rb8 31.Rb2 Ke8 32.Ke2 Kd7 33.Kd3 Kc6 34.Bd2 b5 35.ab+ Kb6 36.Rba2 Ra8 37.f4 a4 38.g4 K:b5 39.Rb1+ Ka6 40.f5 Rac8 41.Rba1 Ka5

Boris Gelfand: The following combination resulted in a draw.

42.f6 gf 43.ef B:f6

Boris Gelfand: Bad is 43...Bd6? in view of 44.B:h6 R:c3+ 45.Ke2, followed by Bd2. 

Ernesto Inarkiev: Well, White's counterplay is about to start, and I have no reasons to go on keeping up tension in the position. 

44.R:a4+ R:a4 45.c4+ Kb6 46.R:a4 Rg8 47.cd R:g4 48.de fe 49.Rb4+ Kc7 50.B:h6 Rh4 51.Be3 R:h5 52.Ra4 Rh3 53.Ke4 Rh4+ 54.Kd3 Rh3 55.Ke4 Rh4+ Draw. 

In this game Ernesto was close to scoring a full point as never before. According to Boris, he had some sort of a glitch happening to him, landing him in a position that was bordering on failure. At this point Inarkiev would go into deep thinking to score a sure goal and lost control of the time. Although a 10-second increment allows players not dropping the flag, it will not gain you enough time for comfortable thinking. Being in time trouble, Gelfand expertly provoked sharp struggle and advanced his pawn as far as the penultimate rank. 

Inarkiev – Gelfand (m/9)
Sicilian Defense

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.B:c6 bc 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 d5 9.d3 c4 10.dc de 11.Q:d8 R:d8 12.R:e4 e5 13.Re1 f6 14.Nbd2 Nf7 15.Nb3 a5 16.Be3 a4 17.Bb6 Re8 18.Nc5 Bf5

Boris Gelfand: In game five I opted for 18...g5 19.b3 g4 20.hg ab 21.ab B:g4 22.Nh4 f5 23.R:a8 R:a8 24.Nd7 f4 25.Nc5 Rb8 26.Bc7 Rc8 27.Ba5 Ra8 28.Bb4 Ng5 29.Nd3 e4 30.N:f4 Be5 31.g3 Kf7 32.Rc1 Ra2 33.Bc5 B:f4 34.gf Nh3+ 35.Kh2 N:f4 36.Re1 Nd3 37.R:e4 N:c5 38.Rf4+ Ke6 39.b4 Na4 40.Re4+ Kf6 41.R:g4 R:f2+ 42.Kg3 Rc2 43.Rf4+ Ke6 44.Nf3 R:c3 45.Re4+ Kf6 46.Rf4+ Ke6 47.Kg4 Nb2 48.Re4+ Kf6 49.Rf4+ Ke6 50.Ng5+ Kd7 51.Rf7+ Kc8 52.c5 Nd3 53.R:h7 Rc4+ 54.Kf5 R:b4 55.Ne6 Kb8 56.Kf6 Rc4 57.Rh5 Nf4 58.Rh8+ Kb7 59.Nd8+ Ka6 60.N:c6 R:c5 61.Nb8+ Kb5 62.Nd7 Rc6+ 63.Kf5 Nd5 64.Rb8+ Nb6 65.R:b6+ R:b6 66.N:b6 K:b6 1/2-1/2, as in Inarkiev – Gelfand, Magas 2016. 

19.Nh4 Bc8 20.Rad1


Boris Gelfand: This is some sort of a mental glitch that happened to me. The initial idea, of course, was to play 20...g5 21.Nf3 g4, resulting in the same position as in game five only up one tempo for Black. 

21.Nf3 e4 22.Nd4 

Boris Gelfand: I was no longer happy about this position. 

22...Ne5 23.b3 ab 24.ab Bf8 25.Ra1

Ernesto Inarkiev: Another interesting move is 25.f4, but then 25...Nd7 (25...ef? 26.N:c6) 26.N:d7 B:d7. 

25...R:a1 26.R:a1 Bh6 27.Bc7 Nd7 


Ernesto Inarkiev: I gave up a tempo despite seeing the move 28.Bd6! 

Boris Gelfand: Black is always able to drum up some kind of counterplay, but in general he is not in a good shape. 

28...B:d7 29.b4 e3 30.f4 Bg7 31.Kf1 e2+ 32.Kf2

Boris Gelfand: Perhaps, White should have played 32.Ke1 Be6 33.Be5 so as to play for domination.



Boris Gelfand: This is a blunder. There is also 33.Be5, the consequences of which were not particularly favourable for Black. 33...B:e5 34.fe B:c4 35.N:c6 Re6 36.Ra8+ Kg7 37.Ra7+ Kf8 38.Rc7.

33...B:c3 34.Be5 B:a1 35.Nc7

Boris Gelfand: If 35.B:a1, then 35...R:e6 36.Be5 g5 37.g3 gf 38.gf Rh6 – and this is a matter of a certain amount technique to convert my advantage, though a minor amount at that. 

35...Re7 36.b5 B:e5 37.fe R:c7 38.b6 Re7 White resigns. 

Thus the score became 10.5-4.5, securing the match victory for Boris Gelfand ahead of time. Since the tournament regulations stipulate that all 12 games be played in any case scenario, the remaining three closing games are scheduled to take place in Magas on Friday, July 22. This said, the playing venue is staged at a very unusual location  the viewing platform of "The Concord Tower" at a height of almost 100 meters above ground!